Last week we began a project on climate change, which is part of the fifth grade science curriculum. Students are working as partners to research answers to some "big questions" by first answering some questions that are smaller in scope. They are taking notes from several sites listed for them as resources, and then will share images and what they have learned with the class so that we all may be better aware of what is involved in the topic of climate change. Big questions may be found on the Global Climate Change assignment document.
In addition to our obvious goal of becoming more aware of the problem of global climate change, an important skill is reading for information. Instead of just being given a list of facts to memorize for a test, they have some text that is written for specifically for students and from which they must draw key ideas and be able then to explain the concept to others. This is a way of assessing real understanding of a concept - can you explain the idea so someone else can understand it?
There is also a list of 9 video clips, most 2-3 minutes in length, that students should take a look at either through their Discovery Education account (we logged in and looked at the list today) or during class if there is one topic that particularly fits their big question. We discussed how the procedure for watching the video will differ in school and at home, because in school we copy the clips to the desktop so we don't have a large number of students streaming video at one time. I will also find articles of interest at their reading level and email them to the team members as I encounter them. I am encouraging students to look at their topic resources outside of school and not just wait for the Monday class period. There are not too many Mondays left in the school year!
During the course of this project in the fourth quarter we will also break periodically and discuss topics related to Digital Citizenship such as email, cyberbullying, posting information online, etc.